The conference opener hasn't been kind to the Canisius men's hockey team. The Griffs were 0-5-1 in their previous Division I conference openers, but Friday night changed all that, with a 5-3 win at Bentley in an Atlantic Hockey matchup in Waltham, Mass.
Joel Kitchen netted two goals with an assist to pace the Griffs (2-4-1, 1-0-0 Atlantic), while Jon Durno, James LeCuyer and Josh Henry added goals. Bryan Worosz recorded 35 saves to move into second place all time for the Griffs with 2,036 career saves. He trails Derek Slater, who had 2,100.
"We got some contributions from some younger guys who had some ice time earlier in the year, and I think that helped," said Canisius coach Brian Cavanaugh. "Even when we were up, 5-1, we missed a lot of chances. . . . We're shooting the puck better and making better decisions on going to the net."
In Kalamazoo, Mich., a goal with 21 seconds left in regulation ruined a comeback effort for Niagara (3-5), which lost to Western Michigan, 4-3. The Purple Eagles had tied the game, 3-3, on a power-play goal by freshman Matt Caruana in the third period, but a late-game turnover allowed Western Michigan to score in the final seconds for the nonconference win. A pair of goals by Ryan Gale in the first period gave Niagara a 2-1 first-period lead. Western Michigan (3-4) tied the game in the second, then took a 3-2 lead early in the third.
"We played very good five-on-five, and our penalty kill was exceptional. What let us down, where we didn't work hard, was on the power play," said Niagara coach Dave Burkholder.
In Division III action, Mike DeMarco (Niagara Falls) scored two goals with two assists for Buffalo State (1-3-1, 0-0-1 SUNYAC) in a 4-4 tie with Brockport.
WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Ashley Riggs scored early in the third period and Allison Rutledge made 48 saves as Niagara tied No. 6 Mercyhurst, 2-2, in Dwyer Arena. The Lakers (5-2-2) outshot Niagara, 50-15. The Purple Eagles opened the scoring on a goal by Erin Toth. Riggs, Toth and Chelsea Donovan added assists.
MEN'S SOCCER: A pair of goals by freshman Lee Catchpole helped the University at Buffalo to a 2-1 win over Northern Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament. It marked just the third postseason win for the Bulls (8-7-2) since they joined the MAC in 1998. It was also the first game back for Catchpole, who missed the last seven games with an ankle injury.
Catchpole put the Bulls ahead, 1-0, on a penalty kick in the 10th minute. The Huskies evened the game in the 21st minute. UB scored the game-winner in the 71st minute when freshman Shyle Braithwaite found Catchpole. Though he's played in only 10 games this season, Catchpole has five goals to lead the team, with his 12 points making him the only Bull to reach double figures this season. Sophomore goaltender Dan Bell recorded four saves. The Bulls will meet Akron in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Sunday.
MEN'S BASKETBALL: Canisius announced it suspendeded players Jon Popofski and Steve McLean indefinitely from game competition for violating the school code of conduct and team rules. Both will be allowed to practice. The nature of the offense was not released in a written statement from the college. Neither has played a game for the Griffs. Popofski is a junior transfer from Central Connecticut State while McLean is a freshman. . . . Brian Montanaro scored 29 points to pace No. 12 Daemen to a 92-59 win over Fisher in the Lord Amherst Tournament. . . . Edmund Raynei (Riverside) scored 23 points and Daruse Corbett added 21 points with 11 rebounds as No. 17 Erie Community College defeated Dean, 93-69.
VOLLEYBALL: After dropping the first two games, Niagara came back to earn a five-game win over Rider in Lawrenceville, N.J. Erin Graham recorded her 1,000 career kill, finishing the match with 22 kills, 25 digs and a career-high five solo blocks. Micole Deluisio (Lancaster) had a match-high 35 digs. The win kept Niagara (6-16, 4-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) in the conference playoff hunt. . . . UB won its first MAC match, a five-game win over Miami (Ohio) in Alumni Arena. Tammy Jule had 21 kills for the Bulls (8-19, 1-13).
SWIMMING: Senior Tracy Hoover won the 1-meter dive, while senior Kimberly LaHaye won the 3-meter dive for UB in a 145-93 loss at Miami (Ohio) in a MAC meet. . . . Buffalo State's men's and women's teams broke three Penn State-Behrend pool records en route to a pair of wins. For the women, divers Nicole Rutkowski (Williamsville North) set the record in the 1-meter dive and broke her own Bengals record (275.50), while Amanda Dory (Sweet Home) set the mark in the 3-meter dive (217.95). On the men's side, Rich Gaczewski (North Tonawanda) won the 1,650 free with a pool-record time of 18:44.75.